Well, its Saturday. The time is 9:50 PM and the baby is sound asleep - mostly. You may not agree with this, but I am having a glass of whiskey - neat. I’ve never been the fruity drinker type. Cue the🗣 Judgey McJudgerson😂
Seriously though, I’ve been thinking a lot about suffering. I thought... I haven’t posted something on my website in a while. Why not now?!
Today, I will be talking about why we suffer.
So, here’s some truth, suffering is everywhere. It’s in our relationships, in our jobs, our marriages, with our children, with our inner dialogue, with our friends, with our health, with our circumstances, with our choices, the list is literally endless. But, why do we suffer...
I’ve deducted that suffering is for the feeling and creation of hope in our life. Without it, suffering life seem de minimis.
The good thing is that hope doesn’t disappoint us. It hasn’t disappointed me. I have chosen to believe the fact that God’s love has been poured out into my hearts through the Holy Spirit which was given to me (Romans 5:5)
Let’s use Paul, in the Bible for an example. Paul introduced a challenging idea about Christians. He said that Christian can see suffering as a cause for rejoicing. Yes, rejoicing - crazy right? I’ll explain why he said it. First, I should note he did not say it to mean that anyone should necessarily feel happy or enthusiastic about hard circumstances. Instead, those who are saved, who have expressed faith in Christ, can declare to their self that the suffering is worthwhile. He proclaimed that suffering will provide the opportunity to grow into the people that God is calling us to be. But, if you’re not a Christian, how do you digest that you ask?
For those that do not believe in Christ, there is a clinging to hope from anyone who will offer it. Additionally, there is the hope that at the end of the suffering, there is remission from the suffering. There is also the choice in how one choses to respond to the suffering…
I get it. I too once rustled with the idea how suffering is a part of growth. It was hard for me understand why, for instance, a little girl had to suffer grieving after she lost her deadbeat father to drugs, but only after years of praying for his sobriety. Now, I see it from the perspective of a seed.
Without water, a seed can’t reach its potential. It won’t grow. It can’t produce flowers or fruit or become anything more than a snack for decomposers. Seeds need water to become what they are meant to be. The alternative is, that every suffering a person encounters, will literally decompose the existence of life and right before their eyes.
In a similar way, people need the Holy Spirit. It makes suffering easier to embrace and accept. Like water, we need Him. We need hope poured into us so that we can grow into the creatures we are intended to be. Somehow in the exchange of words, in the declaration of our faith, in the eagerness of our heart, God’s Spirit takes residence in us. If we listen, the Holy Spirit counsels us. If we mourn, He comforts us. If we are tempted, He empowers us. As we live, He enables us to love. God’s Spirit grows us into the loving creatures that God designed us to be. Otherwise, you are doing all this suffering on your own. I cannot understand why anyone would choose to do suffering alone.
So, this is a controversial thought, but I started to think about historical suffering. What came to my mind was slavery. The only thing that masters were unable to take away from their slaves was how they responded to deprivation, degradation, and the trauma they were subjected to. A slave had to make a conscious decision to focus their energy on “owning” what was being done to them and how they would respond to it. Cue Abolitionist. It’s an extreme idea; I know. I am just encouraged by the degree of psycho spiritual oneness a slave must of had to endure, arguably, one of the most horrific circumstances one could imaginably go through. It is a remarkable example of interpersonal strength, grace under extreme duress, the power of personal choice, and prayer is action. There’s always remission from the long suffering battle. Additionally, there is the choice we have on how we will respond to the suffering.
So, this little girl who prayed for her father could easily claim the “woe is me” card. We all know society would help her do it. It would be so easy for her to be forever victimized by her suffering. But, what if, she claimed the power she receives through Christ? What if she claimed the grace it took to take that suffering on the chin and, yet, still walk forward as an example of hope in the face of adversity? Then, she could be both the cause and the effect of her suffering... How powerful would that be?!
Suffering does not have to be the “all for not” concept, if, we thought of it that way. I choose to rest in the creation of hope, confidence, and resilience I will receive by resting in Him. I hope you will too